View Full Version : Open Letter to Berkeley Students

Keith Millea
03-31-2010, 05:50 PM

Published on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 by CommonDreams.org (http://www.commondreams.org/) Open Letter to Berkeley Students on their Historic Israeli Divestment Bill

by Naomi Klein

On March 18, continuing a long tradition of pioneering human rights campaigns, the Senate of the Associated Students of the University of California, Berkeley (ASUC) passed "A Bill In Support of UC DIVESTMENT FROM WAR CRIMES." The historic bill (http://blogs.asuc.org/2010/03/18/announcements/sb-118-amended-passed/) resolves to divest ASUC's assets from two American companies, General Electric and United Technologies, that are "materially and militarily supporting the Israeli government's occupation of the Palestinian territories"-and to advocate that the UC, with about $135 million invested in companies that profit from Israel's illegal actions in the Occupied Territories, follow suit.

Although the bill passed by a vote of 16-4 after a packed and intense debate, the President of the Senate vetoed (http://www.dailycal.org/article/108783/asuc_president_smelko_vetoes_divestment_bill) the bill six days later. The Senate is expected to reconsider the bill soon; groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace are asking supporters of the bill to send letters (http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=2747) to the Senators, who can overturn the veto with only 14 votes.

Here is the letter I just sent:

Dear members of the ASUC Senate,
I am writing to urge you to reaffirm Senate Bill 118A, despite the recent presidential veto.
It comes as no surprise that you are under intense pressure to reverse your historic and democratic decision to divest from two companies that profit from Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory. When a school with a deserved reputation for academic excellence and moral leadership takes such a bold position, it threatens to inspire others to take their own stands.

Indeed, Berkeley--the campus and the wider community--has provided this kind of leadership on many key issues in the past: not only Apartheid in South Africa but also sweatshops in Indonesia, dictatorship in Burma, political killings in Nigeria, and the list goes on. Time and again, when the call for international solidarity has come from people denied a political voice, Berkeley has been among the first to answer. And in virtually every case, what began as a small action in a progressive community quickly spread across the country and around the world.

Your recent divestment bill opposing Israeli war crimes stands to have this same kind of global impact, helping to build a grassroots, non-violent movement to end Israel's violations of international law. And this is precisely what your opponents--by spreading deliberate lies about your actions--are desperately trying to prevent. They are even going so far as to claim that, in the future, there should be no divestment campaigns that target a specific country, a move that would rob activists of one of the most effective tools in the non-violent arsenal. Please don't give into this pressure; too much is on the line.

As the world has just witnessed with the Netanyahu government's refusal to stop its illegal settlement expansion, political pressure is simply not enough to wrench Israel off its current disastrous path. And when our governments fail to apply sanctions for defiant illegality, other forms of pressure must come into play, including targeting those corporations that are profiting directly from human rights abuses.

Whenever we take a political action, we open ourselves up to accusations of hypocrisy and double standards, since the truth is that we can never do enough in the face of pervasive global injustice. Yet to argue that taking a clear stand against Israeli war crimes is somehow to "discriminate unfairly" against Israelis and Jews (as the veto seems to claim) is to grossly pervert the language of human rights. Far from "singling out Israel," with Senate Bill 118A, you are acting within Berkeley's commendable and inspiring tradition.

I understand that there is some debate about whether or not your divestment bill was adopted "in haste." Not having been there, I cannot comment on your process, though I am deeply impressed by the careful research that went into the decision. I also know that in 2005 an extraordinarily broad range of Palestinian civil society groups called on activists around the world to adopt precisely these kinds of peaceful pressure tactics. In the years since that call, we have all watched as Israeli abuses have escalated dramatically: the attack on Lebanon in the summer of 2006, a massive expansion of illegal settlements and walls, an ongoing siege on Gaza that violates all prohibitions on collective punishment, and, worst of all, the 2008/9 attack on Gaza that left approximately 1,400 dead.

I would humbly suggest that when it comes to acting to end Israeli war crimes, the international response has not suffered from too much haste but from far too little. This is a moment of great urgency, and the world is watching.

Be brave.
Yours sincerely,

Naomi Klein

Keith Millea
03-31-2010, 10:13 PM
An open letter to Berkeley students from ME.

Don't Forget Your History!

A quick reminder;Mario Savio...

And because I just bought the DVD a few days ago:
Jimi Hendrix at the Berkeley Community Theater May 30,1970.....

"Machine Gun"
I was there,balcony second row.

Magda Hassan
03-31-2010, 11:53 PM
Great videos Keith! Thanks for posting them. Watching Jimi in the second row of the balcony must have been a magic moment. I get goosebumps just listening and watching him on YouTube.

Keith Millea
04-01-2010, 05:52 PM
Hey Naomi,they're calling us bigots!Fuck Them.....:thefinger:

Be brave.
Yours sincerely,

Published: 03/19/10, 10:43 AM / Last Update: 03/19/10, 11:08 AM
Berkeley Slammed for 'Bigoted, Illegal' Vote on Divestment

by Maayana Miskin

(IsraelNN.com) Student politicians from the University of California at Berkeley voted Thursday to divest from Israel. The Student Senate voted 16-4 to call on the university to divest its funds from General Electric and from United Technologies, because both companies produce weapons purchased by the Israeli army. The bill calling for divestment was co-sponsored by students Emiliano Huet-Vaughn and Tom Pessah, the latter an anti-Zionist Israeli citizen.

The bill noted the “complexity” of the Israel-Arab conflict, but went on to accuse Israel of violating international law with a “prolonged siege” on Gaza and “attacks on Palestinian and Lebanese civilians,” accusations based on statements from radical left NGO's critical of Israel such as Physicians for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch.

The vote was met with glee from anti-Israel activists. Radical anti-Israel activist and Tel Aviv University student Omar Barghouti (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/130903)expressed hope that the Berkeley vote would be “the watershed, the crossing of the threshold in the spread of BDS across the US that many of us have been waiting to see.”

Prominent American attorney and political commentator Alan Dershowitz slammed the vote as “immoral” and “bigoted.” Divesting from Israel “encourages terrorism and discourages peace,” he said.
Dershowitz noted that divestment from Israel is illegal if done by a state university.

"We will fight back against this selective bigotry that hurts the good name of the University of California,” he said. “The misuse of the university's name does not reflect the views of students... Instead it represents the hijacking of the university for improper ideological purposes.”

[B]StandWithUs: Vote Based on Discredited Report
The U.S. based pro-Israel student group StandWithUs noted that the Berkeley resolution was based on the Goldstone report, which has been criticized as biased and inaccurate by the United States government, among others.

“StandWithUs is shocked that the 16 senators based their decision on the widely discredited UN Goldstone report,” the group stated. “Liberal democracies condemned the Report for bias, misinformation, and distortion of facts, law, and legal reasoning.”

While supporters of the divestment bill claimed it was a response to recent events in Gaza, in reality, anti-Israel activists have been pushing for divestment from Israel since 2002, StandWithUs noted. “The Student Senate unfortunately was hijacked and capitulated to this bigoted campaign,” the group said.

If the Student Senate really opposed war crimes, it would focus on events in Darfur, the Congo, Iran, or Nigeria, “where human rights are constantly violated and the murder of innocents is systematic,” StandWithUs said. If the Senate truly wished for Israeli-Arab peace, it would condemn rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, and would condemn the Palestinian Authority for openly praising terrorism and giving honor to terrorists who murdered Israeli civilians, the group added.

"Apparently, the Student Senate no longer believes in 'speaking truth to power.' Instead, it has capitulated to the bigotry, falsehoods, and racism of anti-Israel campaigns encouraged and supported by oil-rich nations in the Middle East,” StandWithUs concluded. :bird:

Jan Klimkowski
04-01-2010, 07:35 PM
I see that Harvard's Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Alan Dershowitz:

slammed the vote as “immoral” and “bigoted.” Divesting from Israel “encourages terrorism and discourages peace,”"

That's Dershowitz the long-time apologist for Israeli war crimes and open advocate of torture.

I also note that Dershowitz was one of Patty Heart's defence lawyers. And Patty Hearst was a pawn in the deep black son-of-Phoenix Program operations known as the Symbionese Liberation Army and the People's Temple.

Magda Hassan
04-08-2010, 12:07 PM
AIPAC- We’ll take over the UC Berkeley student government (http://www.muzzlewatch.com/2010/04/07/aipac-well-take-over-the-uc-berkeley-student-government/)

Posted on April 7 2010 by Cecilie Surasky under Educational Institutions (http://www.muzzlewatch.com/category/academia/).
Why both with moral persuasion when you can just threaten to take over government… everywhere?
On March 18, UC Berkeley’s student senate voted 16 to 4 in favor of divesting from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. A week later, in a move oddly predicted by AIPAC’s Jonathan Kessler at AIPAC’s policy conference, the vote was vetoed by the student senate president. (Students hope the senate will overturn the veto (http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/31-9) next Wednesday.)
When asked about fighting the Berkeley pro-divest initiative, Kessler said, “we’re going to make sure that pro-Israel students take over the student government and reverse the vote…This is how AIPAC operates in our nation’s capital. This is how AIPAC must operate on our nation’s campuses.” Kessler is at 3:58 in video below. Student elections are happening now at UC Berkeley and you can bet everyone’s looking for the AIPAC-Manchurian candidate, if such a thing exists.

Keith Millea
04-14-2010, 05:05 PM

Published on Wednesday, April 14, 2010 by The Daily California (UC Berkeley) (http://www.dailycal.org/article/109056/international_attention_focused_on_asuc_divestment ) International Attention Focused on Berkeley Divestment Vote

by Allie Bidwell

International attention will descend on the ASUC Senate meeting tonight as senators consider upholding the passage of a controversial bill urging the student government and the University of California to divest from two companies that have provided war supplies to the Israeli military.

http://www.commondreams.org/files/article_images/Desmond_tutu_20070607_1.jpgNobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu. In a recent letter to the UC Berkeley community, Tutu, who won the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts opposing apartheid in South Africa-said he endorsed the bill and urged senators to uphold the original vote, which he compared to similar efforts at UC Berkeley to divest from South Africa in the 1980s. (Wikimedia)

The bill names two companies-United Technologies and General Electric-as supplying Israel with the technology necessary to attack civilian populations in Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The bill originally passed the senate March 17 by a 16-4 vote following about six hours of discussion. A two-thirds majority, or 14 votes, is needed in order to override the veto.

Senators have received more than 13,000 e-mails, roughly split between both sides of the controversy.

Prominent figures including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, activist Naomi Klein and leftist MIT professor Noam Chomsky have spoken in support of overriding ASUC President Will Smelko's March 24 veto of the bill. Local and national pro-Israel groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)-an influential Washington, D.C. lobby organization-Berkeley Hillel and the Anti-Defamation League have each stated the bill is divisive and unfairly targets Israel.

Supporters of the bill say divesting from the two companies would make a powerful statement against Israeli actions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which supporters have compared to apartheid-era South Africa.
In a recent letter to the UC Berkeley community, Tutu, who won the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts opposing apartheid in South Africa-said he endorsed the bill and urged senators to uphold the original vote, which he compared to similar efforts at UC Berkeley to divest from South Africa in the 1980s.

He said in an e-mail Tuesday that he had a message for ASUC senators.
"I salute you for wanting to take a moral stand," he said in the e-mail. "(Your predecessors) changed the moral climate in the U.S. and the consequence was the Anti-Apartheid legislation, which helped to dismantle apartheid non-violently. Today is your turn. Will you look back on this day with pride or with shame?"

Wayne Firestone, national president of Hillel-a Jewish campus organization-released a statement last month condemning the bill. The statement stated that the bill is "one-sided, divisive and undermines the pursuit of peace" and ignores human rights violations of other countries.
"The ASUC bill will not contribute a whit to the advancement of peace in the Middle East and will only serve to divide the Berkeley community," Firestone said in the statement.

Pro-Israel activist organization J Street U, joined 18 other organizations-including Berkeley Hillel, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Federation of the East Bay, the Jewish National Fund and StandWithUs/SF Voice for Israel-in crafting an April 5 letter to UC Berkeley Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer stating that they felt the bill was dishonest and misleading.

Among concerns listed in the letter was that the bill "unfairly targets" Israel while marginalizing Jewish students on campus who support Israel.
"Though it states that the 'ASUC resolution should not be considered taking sides in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict,' the exclusive focus on Israel suggests otherwise," the letter states.

Critics of the bill have said senators cannot make a proper judgement of an issue as complicated as the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Student Action Senator Parth Bhatt, who voted against the bill, said he felt the ASUC should not take a stance on such an issue because it marginalizes one community on campus.

"I don't think the ASUC should put any student in that position," Bhatt said. "The conflict is very complex and something I don't think our senators know enough about to vote on."

But CalSERVE Senator Ariel Boone said she supported the bill because she felt compelled to defend human rights.

"I went to Israel and had a really interesting time with Berkeley Hillel in January, and I have Holocaust survivors among my family," Boone said in an e-mail. "I have never felt so uniquely qualified to speak on an issue."
AIPAC has recently stated the need for a strategy to combat anti-Israel sentiments on U.S. university campuses.

"How are we going to beat back the anti-Israel divestment resolution at Berkeley?" said Jonathan Kessler, leadership development director for AIPAC, at a recent conference of the lobbying group. "We're going to make sure that pro-Israel students take over the student government and reverse the vote. This is how AIPAC operates in our nation's capitol. This is how AIPAC must operate on our nation's campuses."

But according to spokesperson Josh Block, the group did not take a position in the recent ASUC election.
"We don't rate or endorse candidates," Block said in an e-mail. "Of course we would always, publicly and consistently encourage pro-Israel students to be active in civic and political life."

Read statements in opposition and in support of the divestment bill:
Naomi Klein (http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100412/klein)
Noam Chomsky (http://www.kabobfest.com/2010/04/noam-chomsky-endorses-berkeley-divestment.html)
Desmond Tutu (http://www.salem-news.com/articles/april112010/desmond-tutu-dt.php)
Hillel (http://www.hillel.org/about/news/2010/mar/19mar10_Berkeleystatement.htm)
Letter to Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost of UC Berkeley George Breslauer (http://news.zionism-israel.com/2010/04/j-street-u-joins-in-condemning-berkeley.html)
AIPAC Video (http://www.muzzlewatch.com/2010/04/07/aipac-well-take-over-the-uc-berkeley-student-government/)

© 2010 The Daily Californian

Keith Millea
04-16-2010, 02:22 AM

UC Berkeley ‘divest from the occupation’ bill still undecided (http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/41210)

By: fairleft (http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/author/fairleft/) Thursday April 15, 2010 10:25 am

ASUC Senate Still Undecided on Vetoed Divestment Bill (http://www.dailycal.org/article/109089/asuc_senate_still_undecided_on_vetoed_divestment_b )
By Allie Bidwell and Nick Myers
Contributing Writers
Last Updated Thursday, April 15, 2010

Following a nearly nine-hour discussion that began at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday evening and lasted into Thursday morning, ASUC senators have yet to reach a decision on whether or not they would uphold or override President Will Smelko’s March 24 veto of a controversial bill urging the student government and the UC to divest from two companies that have supplied Israel with materials for alleged war crimes.
After an initial 12-7-1 vote to uphold Smelko’s veto, the senate tabled the bill and will reconsider it next week. Several senators said they would work to alter the bill.

David Guyatt
04-16-2010, 08:26 AM
It seems fairly evident to me that the Bill is not going to be allowed to proceed. Disinvestment from those corporations supplying Israel was doomed from the beginning - but at least the picture has clarified a bit about how such "dangerous" ideas are tackled and thwarted.

Never allow popular support for fair play and democratic ideals to ever interfere with politico-business opportunities.

Keith Millea
04-16-2010, 03:00 PM
Yes David,I think this spells doom for the divestment to pass.The stakes were very large because if UC Berkeley were to pass this,then it would spread across most collage campuses.I think there is much arm twisting and fists full of dollars going on here.

Magda Hassan
04-17-2010, 03:41 AM
Keith, another letter from you and Naomi to the Berkeley students might just push this through!

UC Berkeley divestment vote–it isn’t over yet (http://feedproxy.google.com/%7Er/feedburner/WDBc/%7E3/c89iNWX_9eA/uc-berkeley-divestment-vote-it-isnt-over-yet.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email)
Posted: 16 Apr 2010 08:12 AM PDT
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/04/uc-berkeley-divestment-vote-it-isnt-over-yet.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+feedburner%2FWDBc+(Mondoweiss ) (http://mondoweiss.net/2010/04/uc-berkeley-divestment-vote-it-isnt-over-yet.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+feedburner%2FWDBc+%28Mondowei ss%29)

Being a part of the tremendous coalition effort to pass a divestment bill at Berkeley was quite simply an ecstatic experience.
As my colleague Sydney Levy said, "The movement grew by an enormous leap today."
First, the vote itself: after the UC Berkeley Student Senate originally voted on March 18, by a margin of 16-4, to divest from companies that profit from the occupation, that vote was vetoed by the Senate president. The Senate needed 14 votes to overturn his veto, but early this morning, after an epic 10 plus hour meeting, senators found they had only 13 yes votes with one abstention. So the students tabled a vote to overturn the veto. This means the veto stands but can still be overturned later--there will be much continued lobbying and activism in the coming weeks. (Meanwhile, some weeks ago AIPAC openly threatened to take over the UC government (http://www.muzzlewatch.com/2010/04/07/aipac-well-take-over-the-uc-berkeley-student-government/) to block the bill.)
But in many ways, the vote itself was not the star of this story. For anyone who was there last night and until 7:30 this morning when the forum ended, it was clear what the future looks like.
For one, the smart money is on the members of UC Berkeley's Students for Justice with Palestine (http://calsjp.org/) (SJP), the group leading this effort. They are a remarkable multi-ethnic group that seemingly includes every race, religion and ethnicity including Muslims and Jews, and Israelis and Palestinians. They are just brilliant thinkers and organizers and driven by a clear sense of justice and empathy. They spent a year researching and writing the divestment bill, and I can't express how much I love and respect them and how much hope they make me feel. And there are students just like them on every other campus in the world.
Second, the feeling on campus and in the room was electric. We filled an enormous room that fits 900. Most stayed through the entire night. If you can imagine, the evening started with remarkable statements by divestment supporters Judith Butler, Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, Richard Falk, Hatem Bazian and George Bisharat. And then the extraordinary parade of students and community members who spoke on both sides of the issue until it was past sunrise.
And though the final vote still hangs in the balance, the fact remains that the vast majority of the Senate voted to divest. The bill garnered the support of some of the most famous moral voices in the world, a good chunk of the Israeli left (9 groups and counting), nearly 40 campus groups (almost all student of color groups and one queer organization) plus another 40 US off-campus groups.
In addition, the room was filled with Jewish divestment supporters of every age including grandmothers and aunts and uncles and students. Our staff, activist members, and Advisory Board members like Naomi Klein, Judith Butler, Daniel Boyarin, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb and Noam Chomsky each played critical roles in the effort. And of course, all of you who generated over 5,000 letters of support.
So much has changed since Gaza. Just 2 years ago we secured only 4 pages of Jewish endorsement letters for a similar selective divestment effort. This time, we put together 29 pages of major Jewish endorsement statements (which you can download here (http://www.scribd.com/full/29932279?access_key=key-wixme1lsgsle95zc4ux)), and the list continues to grow by the day. We also made 400 bright green stickers that said "Another (fill in the blank) for human rights. Divest from the Israeli occupation" and gave every single last one away.
As attorney Reem Salahi said to me, "When I was a student here in law school 2 years ago, no one spoke about divestment. Now everyone is talking about it."
For those of us there, it was clear--the room was with divestment. The senators were with divestment. And given the endorsements that kept pouring in up to the last second, from Nobel prize winners, from Israeli peace groups, from leading academics and activists--it seemed like the whole world was with divestment.
There were a number of Jewish students who expressed seemingly real discomfort if the divestment bill should pass. (As it turned out, they were repeating these talking points (http://mondoweiss.net/2010/04/anti-divestment-talking-points-avoid-the-facts-and-charge-anti-semitism.html) almost verbatim, with histrionics encouraged.) Many said they wouldn't feel safe on campus, others said they would feel silenced, a few said young Jews would no longer want to come to UC Berkeley.
While feeling for their discomfort, it was difficult to watch how speaker after anti-divestment speaker seemed unable to distinguish between the discomfort of infrequent dirty looks, and rare nasty or bigoted name-calling, and the "discomfort" of having your home demolished or of having only toxic water to give to your family or of being shot or stuck at a checkpoint for hours in the sun.
They were unable to make the distinction between "feeling silenced" because the bill might pass against their wishes, and being silenced because you are jailed for your nonviolent activism or because you can't get a visa to travel or because your story is virtually invisible in film, in history books, in the mainstream media, everywhere.
I of course wasn't the only one who noticed this. Students of color, and one student senator in particular, beautifully articulated what it meant to come to campus "already marginalized." That is certainly a part of why so many student of color campus groups support the divestment effort, and why the links between being anti-racist in Israel/Palestine and anti-racist in the U.S. (and elsewhere) are particularly strong, clear, and important -- and these students know it.
Which makes the statements of the anti-divestment Jews all the more striking in juxtaposition to the statements of the many Jewish students who supported divestment, each of whom said, "I feel safe on this campus." And the progressive Jewish UC-Berkeley senator who said, "this divest bill will actually make me feel safe" and "this [bill] is creating space for Jews to have a community here. I've never been prouder to be a Jew."
And that, if anything, suggests the most exciting part of what happened here.
It's so clear to me how the organizing itself, and the ways it brought all of us, but especially Jews and Muslims and Arabs of every age together, is the solution. When peace happens, it will radiate outward from these relationships, mirrored in the Israeli-Palestinian relationships in places like Bil'in and Sheikh Jarrah. This was so apparent when I saw, on one side of the room, Jewish and Palestinian and Muslim students literally leaning on each other and holding hands for support--and on the other side of the room, a relatively small (and by their own admonition, fearful) group of Jews that seemed to mostly have each other. It was very jarring and poignant and deeply sad.
The future is clear and it's already here. It is a multicultural (and queer-integrated) universe bound together by a belief in full equality. Period.
Silence and apathy are the friends of the status quo. Sunlight, debate, facts, passion- these are what justice requires to grow. Open debates like the one UC Berkeley held last night simply must happen at campuses everywhere. The students of SJP have already won by making this debate happen. The whole campus is talking about Israel and Palestine. Last night's forum and vote will forever impact the lives of every person who was in that room. And the new connections made have strengthened the movement in ways none of us imagined.
No wonder Israeli Consulate General Akiva Tor stayed for the entire vote. If I were he and it were my job to protect Israel's occupation, I'd be worried. Very worried.
This morning, not hours after the meeting ended, I found an email in my inbox from an SJP group at another campus. "We want to introduce a divestment bill on campus and were wondering if you might assist us with speakers..."
Let this new stage begin.
Cecilie Surasky is the Deputy Director of Jewish Voice for Peace (http://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/).

Keith Millea
04-17-2010, 06:13 PM
I hope this story is right on,but I remain sceptical.The Pro divestment people lost three votes in the second round.That's not a good sign.I guess it's just a wait and see thing. :bebored:

Magda Hassan
04-18-2010, 01:40 AM
From an email this morning.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jews for Justice <jewsforjusticenow@gmail.com>
Date: 2010/4/17
Subject: update from Berkeley -- thank you for your ad, we will prevail...
To: Jews for Justice Now <jewsforjusticenow@gmail.com>

Dear Jews for Justice,

Thank you. Your ad was extremely powerful. Many of the Senators were talking about our ad in the days before the vote, according to Israeli graduate student Tom Pessah, co-author of the divestment bill and board member of Students for Justice in Palestine.

Unfortunately, we didn't quite cross the threshold this time, and fell just shy of the 2/3 supermajority vote we needed to override the veto. But the momentum is clearly on the side of justice, equality, and human rights. After 8 hours of debate, the Student Senate tabled the bill for possible future re-discussion.

Below you will find an extensive collection of links to news and updates on the divestment bill...

A video of scenes from the vote:

News stories and blog posts:

http://www. (http://goog_1137337638/)berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/ (http://goog_1137337638/)2010-04-15/article/35024? (http://goog_1137337638/)headline=No-Final-Decision-on- (http://goog_1137337638/)UC-Berkeley-Israel-Divestment- (http://goog_1137337638/)Bill-after-Marathon-Meeting





http://mondoweiss.net/2010/04/judith-butler-joins-chomsky-tutu-klein-and-a-growing-chorus-worldwide-in-support-of-berkeley-divestment.html (http://mondoweiss.net/2010/04/judith-butler-joins-chomsky-tutu-klein-and-a-growing-chorus-worldwide-in-support-of-berkeley-divestment.html)

http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/57721/u.c.-berkeley-student-senate-votes-to-sustain-veto-of-divest-from-israel-re/ (http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/57721/u.c.-berkeley-student-senate-votes-to-sustain-veto-of-divest-from-israel-re/)

Here's SJP's very articulate response to the veto:

And check out JVP's 30-page document compiling all the Jewish support we received for the Divestment Bill:

Yaman Salahi and Sydney Levy: Attack on Berkeley divestment bill dishonest and misleading

Daily Cal's blog report on Desmond Tutu:

If you have liberal Zionist friends who are unsure whether to support BDS in the future, you might want to forward them this link:


Matthew Taylor

Magda Hassan
04-18-2010, 01:50 AM
I hope this story is right on,but I remain sceptical.The Pro divestment people lost three votes in the second round.That's not a good sign.I guess it's just a wait and see thing. :bebored:
Well, overall, people are disappointed about it, for sure, but there is lots of optimism too. It was great to get so far so soon. And more importantly, it is far from over. The battle is lost but not the war. Not by a long shot. Just the opening shot.

Magda Hassan
04-19-2010, 08:49 AM
The amazing Hedy Epstein speaks at the Berkeley teach-in for the divestment vote.

Here is the informed and articulate Richard Becker providing succinct background and analysis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71a7pk2Pl6w (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71a7pk2Pl6w)

Keith Millea
04-29-2010, 01:59 AM
Well,if UC Berkeley doesn't have it with in themselves,maybe UC San Diego will enlighten them.......


UC divestment spreads – UC San Diego to vote on bill tomorrow | Mondoweiss (http://www.ucsddivestforpeace.org/2010/04/uc-divestment-spreads-%e2%80%93-uc-san-diego-to-vote-on-bill-tomorrow-mondoweiss/)

On April 27, 2010, In In The News (http://www.ucsddivestforpeace.org/category/in-the-news/), Op-Ed (http://www.ucsddivestforpeace.org/category/op-ed/), Uncategorized (http://www.ucsddivestforpeace.org/category/uncategorized/), By ucsddivest

by Adam Horowitz on April 27, 2010[/URL]

[URL="http://www.ucsddivestforpeace.org/"]UC San Diego (http://mondoweiss.net/2010/04/uc-divestment-spreads-uc-san-diego-to-vote-on-bill-tomorrow.html#comments) will be joining Berkeley in holding a vote on divestment tomorrow evening. The San Diego bill (http://www.ucsddivestforpeace.org/divestment-resolution/) under consideration is slightly different, and organizers seem to have learned from some of Berkeley’s challenges. From the UC San Diego newspaper The Guardian (http://www.ucsdguardian.org/news/lights-and-sirens/a.s.-resolution-draws-criticism-from-pro-israel-groups/):

The resolution was drafted by members of several campus organizations — including Students for Justice in Palestine and the Student Sustainability Collective — and approved by Transfer Senator Adam Powers and Campuswide Senator Desiree Prevo. According to Associate Vice President of Enterprise Operations Rishi Ghosh — a co-sponsor of the resolution — the council was inspired by a similar effort at UC Berkeley, where the resolution passed 16-4 in the student Senate, but was eventually vetoed by Berkeley A.S. President Will Smelko.
The resolution calls for the UC system to stop investing in companies such as General Electric and United Technologies, which supporters of the resolution claim promote violence by providing technology — such as helicopters and aircraft engines — to warring countries around the world.
Sixth College senior Leena Barakat — who helped draft the resolution — said the UCSD version was altered to ensure that it condemned human-rights violations as a whole, and not specifically actions taken by the state of Israel.
Of course pro-Israel students and organizations are attacking the effort, and some of their arguments seem especially desperate – including comparing United Nations documentation of human rights abuses in Gaza to Holocaust denial (huh?!). Again from The Guardian:

A.S. Engineering Senator Adi Singer — a member of the pro-Israel community and creator of the Facebook group “Students Against ASUCSD Anti-Israel Bias and Resolutions” — said the resolution is a pointed attack against Israel.
“It’s a very thinly veiled political statement,” Singer said. “If it’s about all human-rights violations, why are there a ton of citings specifically about Gaza and very few about anywhere else?”
Although Ghosh said the resolution has received endorsements from groups such as Jewish Voices for the Peace and that information in the resolution regarding companies profiting from occupancy was provided by the United Nations, Singer maintained that the draft is biased.
“My main issue with this is that it’s very one-sided,” Singer said. “It’s not hard to find news sources that support your point of view. I can go on the Internet right now and find tons of sources that say that the Holocaust never happened.”
She added that the resolution would be detrimental to relations between Israeli and Palestinian interest groups on campus.
“Say what you want about it — the intent is clear,” she said. “The pro-Israel community has been trying really hard to build relations with the pro-Palestine community, and we would never bring up a resolution against Hamas.”
Tritons for Israel President Dafna Barzilay said it is not the council’s place to pass resolutions pertaining to international issues.
“We don’t support any such resolutions, even if it was pro-Israel or anti-Hamas,” she said. “It’s not the business of A.S. to support international problems that require that scale of spending and is not directly related to the university.”
In contrast, Ghosh said it is the council’s duty to be aware of global issues.
“If they believe that, why weren’t they there when we passed a resolution to support Haiti with allocations?” he asked. “Why weren’t they in the past, when we’ve been fighting for human rights in Sudan, fair trade in Africa?”
He said the resolution is meant to be a politically-neutral gesture.
“It is not anti-Israel,” he said. “Israel was very cleverly kept out of it.”
You can learn more about the UC San Diego effort, and what you can do to help, at their website UCSD Divest For Peace (http://www.ucsddivestforpeace.org/).

Keith Millea
04-30-2010, 06:40 PM
Council Delays Decision On Human Rights Violations – UCSD Guardian (http://www.ucsddivestforpeace.org/2010/04/council-delays-decision-on-human-rights-violations/)

On April 30, 2010, In In The News (http://www.ucsddivestforpeace.org/category/in-the-news/), News (http://www.ucsddivestforpeace.org/category/news/), By ucsddivest

After emotional public input and a complete rewrite of the divestment resolution, proponents plan to reintroduce original language next week.
Posted on 29 April 2010 by Angela Chen
http://www.ucsdguardian.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/AS-meeting-300x200.jpg (http://www.ucsdguardian.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/AS-meeting.jpg)John Hanacek/Guardian

Hundreds of students gathered at the A.S. Forum last night to watch the council debate a controversial resolution calling for the University of California to stop investing in companies providing military technology to Israel. The resolution identified the Palestinian territories as being occupied by a military force guilty of committing human rights violations against the Palestinian people. The council ultimately voted 13-10-4 to create a committee to further discuss the resolution.

The resolution, which was modeled after a similar effort at UC Berkeley, called for the UC Board of Regents to divest endowment funds from corporations such as General Electric and United Technologies. According to the resolution, these companies manufacture technology used in military weapons and vehicles, such as helicopters, used in war crimes in the Middle East.

According to Associate Vice President of Enterprise Operations Rishi Ghosh — who helped draft the document — the resolution is not the first of its kind. However, Ghosh said, if it had passed, it would have been the first recognition of Israel’s war crimes to be approved at a public university.

Hampshire College, a private college in Massachusetts, has already divested entirely from the state of Israel. (The resolution considered by the council last night only advocated a break from corporations said to profit from Israel’s alleged war crimes.)

The bill drew students from campus groups such as Tritons for Israel and Students for Justice in Palestine, who spoke during the public input period at the beginning of the meeting.

Campuswide Senator-elect Elizabeth Elman said the resolution encouraged the university to adopt a neutral stance in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by divesting from companies that support Israel’s actions in the conflict.
“I’ve heard that passing this resolution will divide our UCSD community on an issue that is far removed from this campus,” she said. “I would argue that we are already divided. I believe that discussing this resolution is the first step in reuniting our community. This resolution divests from American companies whose business solely benefits the war efforts of one side in this conflict will help restore the neutrality that our student body so vocally desires.”

However, Tritons for Israel President Dafna Barzilay argued that the legislation was biased and that passing it would alienate the pro-Israel community on campus. She said that the pro-Israel committee had been unfairly excluded from the drafting of the resolution and that the pro-Israel community had only three days to formulate a response before the vote at last night’s A.S. Council meeting.

“My community is feeling threatened, and we’re feeling unsafe,” she said. “One thing I would like to urge is that this is not a pro-peace resolution. It is marketed to be one — however, I would like to maintain that peace incorporates talks, negotiations and respects from both sides of any conflicted forces and this kind of movement should not be one that’s done overnight.”

According to A.S. Director of Policy Initiatives Mac Zilber, the money invested into G.E. and United Technologies does not come from tuitions or student fees — as the resolution states — but instead is derived from private donations. In addition, he said that the investment money supporters the capital unit of G.E., which is a commercial leasing unit of the company and is not involved in providing military technology overseas.

Following public input, councilmembers began to discus whether the resolution was an appropriate topic to discuss. A motion by Campuswide Senator Katie Hall to table the motion indefinitely failed 13-16-2 with 13 members voting in favor of tabling, 16 voting against and 3 abstaining.
Vice President of Student Life Ricsie Hernandez proposed that the original version of the resolution be amended and instead be replaced with a version created by Campuswide Senator Tobias Haglund. Haglund’s version removes all mention of Israel or Palestine and instead states that the council does not condone the financial support of companies that invest in military occupation in any country.

Ghosh said he would support the amended version of the resolution.
“That version was terribly watered down and a lot of people in our community weren’t happy with it, but I would have voted for it,” Ghosh said.

The amendment passed, but the issue was eventually voted to be discharged into a committee chaired with Speaker James Lintern, who resigned from the position at the end of the meeting.
“I didn’t volunteer for this position and this committee is going to fail in a big way,” he said. “I didn’t have good experiences with the council on this last year, and nothing’s going to happen with it.”

Hall, who voted for the issue to be discharged, argued that the debate should be resolved only once both groups have had equal input into the resolution.

“My problem is that there are members of Students for Justice in Palestine on this council, but there are hardly any members of Tritons for Israel on this council to have their voices be heard on this resolution,” Hall said.
Ghosh said that he was disappointed with the outcome since the original resolution had already been so radically altered.

“The last compromise really could have been passed, it was very transparent,” he said. “They knew it was about to pass so they voted it into committee where people can keep bringing up new things.”

Ghosh said that he would bring up the resolution again at the 2009-10 council’s final meeting of the year, which will be held next week.
“Next time I won’t bring up the compromised document but instead the original document,” he said. “I’m just going to keep bringing it up again and again and it might take 10 years, but divestment will pass.”

Readers can contact Angela Chen at shchen@ucsd.edu.

Magda Hassan
06-03-2010, 01:34 PM
Just minutes ago, the students at Evergreen State College (http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=M9FJqN2ZSpq3mdBKQcD6hejllI0npMU5) in Olympia, Washington, the alma mater of Rachel Corrie, announced that the whole student body voted overwhelmingly in favor of divestment from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation and in favor of making their campus Caterpillar-free.
What's more remarkable is that the decision was not made by a student council and thus vulnerable to veto by just one person, as we saw in Berkeley. No, it was decided through a campus-wide vote. No one, not the promoters of the divestment policy, not its detractors, knew how the students would vote in complete privacy.
The results? The divestment vote won by a landslide 79.5%! The Caterpillar vote by an equally impressive 71.8%!
The Evergreen College Board of Trustees and Board of Governors actually hold the purse strings of the Evergreen College and the Evergreen Foundation respectively. You can imagine the pressure that will be brought upon them to ignore the student votes.
We need you to email them right and ask them to respect the voice of the students and divest!
Board of Turstees Direction Carver T. Gayton (tescbot@evergreen.edu)
Foundation Vice President Lee Hoemann (foundation@evergreen.edu)

Also, go to http://tescdivest.org/ (http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=4lM7bF%2BDKin0a9GQeEbNFOjllI0npMU5) to sign a petition in support of the students!
Immediately after the student vote, the student union passed a unanimous resolution requesting full disclosure of all corporations, including those held through mutual funds, in which The Evergreen State College Foundation and The Evergreen State College are invested and asking the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors to make public a plan of action for divestment from companies that profit from the occupation of Palestine.

Please email Mr. Gayton and Ms. Hoemann today and ask them to divest.
Many of you followed with baited breath the struggle for divestment at the University of California at Berkeley and San Diego. We sent you this report (http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=oVr7%2F04sQYWonkUIQ7NvZejllI0npMU5) about the inspiring students from Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Well the attacks on the bill's supporter's, including Jewish Voice for Peace, were vicious and predictable, so we decided to respond and also document what we had learned about how the anti-divestment groups work (http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=kNHv%2FOs2JEYVeq0CxOaTZujllI0npMU5). We think it's important reading for those working on other campuses.

Most important, we interviewed the UC Berkeley student supporters of divestment so you could hear them in their own words. We can't possibly convey how incredibly inspired we were by them, but we think this ten-minute video clip (http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=qEz%2Bv6DMcapgdYW6SUQbqujllI0npMU5) will do the job for us. One thing is certain. If you want to know where today's smart, compassionate, curious and socially engaged students of all backgrounds are gravitating to, it's the campus divestment movement.
Congratulations Evergreen. During these very painful times when we see peacemakers being attacked on the seas outside Gaza, in B'ilin and N'ilin and Sheik Jarrah, it's hugely inspiring to see that real change is happening with an entire new generation.

Sydney Levy
Director of Campaigns
Jewish Voice for Peace
PS: A lot of information and misinformation is going around about the Gaza flotilla. Here's a good primer to share with friends and family: Lying About The Gaza Flotilla Disaster (http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=MNlXAQWuV%2BGqTNzncyaVgOjllI0npMU5)

Keith Millea
06-03-2010, 02:33 PM
Evergreen State Collage is a smaller liberal arts school.I am glad to see that they have taken these measures,but without the major Universities doing the same,this will likely lead to not much of anything.I'm still pissed at UC Berkeley.I put a curse on them that Stanford will kick there butt in every major sport on campus.That's what really matters to these young up and comers.

Dawn Meredith
06-04-2010, 11:28 AM
Evergreen State Collage is a smaller liberal arts school.I am glad to see that they have taken these measures,but without the major Universities doing the same,this will likely lead to not much of anything.I'm still pissed at UC Berkeley.I put a curse on them that Stanford will kick there butt in every major sport on campus.That's what really matters to these young up and comers.

Good for Evergreen. It is a step and sets an example. Hard to believe Berkley has so changed.

Magda Hassan
08-16-2010, 07:16 AM
Harvard University fund sells all Israel holdings

No reason for the sale was mentioned in the report to the SEC.

15 August 10 17:15, Hillel Koren
In another blow to Israeli shares, the Harvard Management Company notified the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday that it had sold all its holdings in Israeli companies during the second quarter of 2010. No reason for the sale was mentioned. The Harvard Management Company manages Harvard University's endowment. Harvard Management Company stated in its 13-F Form that it sold 483,590 shares in Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (http://www.tevapharm.com/) (Nasdaq: TEVA (javascript:viewInstrument('TEVA',11,'EN')); TASE: TEVA (javascript:viewInstrument('629014',45,'EN'))) for $30.5 million; 52,360 shares in NICE Systems Ltd. (http://www.nice.com/) (Nasdaq: NICE (javascript:viewInstrument('NICE',11,'EN')); TASE: NICE (javascript:viewInstrument('273011',45,'EN'))) for $1.67 million; 102,940 shares in Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (http://www.checkpoint.com/) (Nasdaq: CHKP (javascript:viewInstrument('CHKP',11,'EN'))) for $3.6 million; 32,400 shares in Cellcom Israel Ltd. (http://www.cellcom.co.il/) (NYSE:CEL (javascript:viewInstrument('CEL',4,'EN')); TASE:CEL (javascript:viewInstrument('11015349',45,'EN'))) for $1.1 million, and 80,000 Partner Communications Ltd. (http://orange.co.il/) (Nasdaq: PTNR (javascript:viewInstrument('PTNR',11,'EN')); TASE: PTNR (javascript:viewInstrument('1083484',45,'EN'))) shares for $1.8 million. More..... (http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/docview.asp?did=1000581912)